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Recycling not a major concern for Welsh consumers

New research suggests that the recyclability of packaging is not a major concern for Welsh consumers.

In a survey carried out by Waste Awareness Wales (WAW), only 5% of people said that they take minimal packaging into account when purchasing, while 52% stated that price was the biggest factor in what they bought.

The results, released to coincide with the start of the Big Recycle week suggest that the country needs to reassess current purchasing habits, start recognising the importance of minimising waste and reuse goods and materials more.

However, the majority of people questioned (60%) felt that supermarket goods are over packaged, while encouragingly, more than three quarters (77%) sometimes buy products made from recycled materials.

There are also more people who always buy recycled goods than never buy, but only 37% use a re-usable cloth shopping bag or ‘bag for life’ and just 10% reuse envelopes.

WAW chairperson councillor Richard Parry Hughes said: “While it is encouraging to see that people in Wales are sometimes buying products made from recycled materials, there is more we can all be doing to make a real difference.

“It is important that we not only recycle, but also start taking action to minimise the waste we generate. This could be as simple as opting for goods and products with less packaging or by reusing everyday materials such as carrier bags and envelopes.”

The vast majority of respondents felt that they would be more encouraged to buy recycled products if they were more aware of the benefits of such practices.

This suggests that retailers have a role to play in educating consumers, with 82% agreeing that all goods that can be recycled should include advice and information stating how this can be achieved.

Parry Hughes added: “Making small changes to our behaviour will help us rise to the challenge of improving our recycling performance, ultimately helping Wales work towards hitting our national recycling target of 40% by 2010.

“Although we are faced with clever marketing tactics, making better purchasing decisions will really help to reduce the materials we waste.”

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